How SMEs in Pakistan should design an Employee Wellness Program

It is a common saying that a company is only as successful as its employees. And to have fully functioning and successful employees, businesses need to invest in their well-being. 

This can range from simple things like ensuring that employees remain fit and eat healthily. It can be a simple option of stocking health-oriented meals or snacks for staff, instead of fast food. 

It has been well documented in research studies that unhealthy workers were more likely to face low productivity at work. Similarly, employees that did not work out regularly reported more job-related stress and downtime due to health issues. 

This means that companies that focus on wellness get to have happier and more productive employees. Making employee wellness a focus allows for a happiness-based culture that attracts and retains good resources and keeps them happy. 

But how can a small business struggling with multiple challenges including that of finance manage to develop such a culture? There are multiple options for willing small business owners and managers to include health and wellness-based measures in their culture

There is a systemic and low-cost process to design an Employee Wellness Program that will yield good results, will stay within financial constraints, and will help boost a business’s bottom line

1. Make Wellness a part of your Company’s DNA

This means that a focus on wellness should be demonstrated through owner and management behaviour. This can be done through actual adoption of wellness measures like fitness regimes, group fitness classes making break rooms health-oriented with healthy food options, and light exercise equipment. 

In short, a wellness program can be launched by having wellness play a part in every act and decision the company makes. It should start with the business’s leaders and trickle down to the grassroots. 

2. Keep in Touch with what Employees Want

Take a survey of what your employees are looking for in wellness options. It would help to make sure that it aligns with the business model and budget capabilities. Many times, staff have much more realistic expectations, particularly when they know that their workplace is small and budget-constrained. 

Maybe all they need is an early time off to get to their gym on time or a gym membership support. These are things that surveying the staff will show. All you need to do is float a questionnaire to assess what would help employees with their health life.

Once you know what your current mindset, struggles, beliefs, and preferences are, there should be many options to start.

3. Implement Plans Slowly

Make sure to take time to incorporate feedback and mistakes. Nothing is perfect from the first step. It won’t be possible to implement any plan with perfection. There is no right or wrong way to implement a plan. If you received multiple options and are going with the more popular options, there will be a right mix that will work for the majority of employees.  

While implementing any plan, you should focus on how you will motivate employees to participate in the plans. Getting a corporate account and discounts for a nearby gym for fitness memberships is a decent start. But, if employees are educated about the importance of fitness and staying healthy your program will be more effective and have an impact when education, accountability, and community are combined with physical activity.

4. Be practical and Keep things easy

The wellness program will have little effect if it is difficult to participate. You will not be able to make everyone participate, but you can make sure the program is easy to use for those that do. There shouldn’t be administrative hiccups or issues with usage. Interests of all levels of users should be considered. 

5. Determine What defines Success

It’s tempting to think of common (and easy) metrics like the number of sick days while monitoring if productivity is improving. But there are other metrics beyond the standard metrics that determine success.

Metrics like participation in the various activities and challenges are important. Carry out anonymous surveys to measure employee satisfaction with the company and the new wellness initiatives. 

You could also make the program more meaningful by donating to a charity for every “such & such” number of steps the company takes as a whole.

Starting a wellness program for your small business doesn’t need to be confusing or filled with overwhelming details and steps, just start small and keep optimizing as you go along.

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